It’s December, a time to pause and reflect on what has been and what will be. The year’s final month affords us a great vantage point. It allows us to look back over the year that is expiring and lament lost opportunities, while contemplating the unborn year ahead and the challenges it will bring. The 12th month ushers in a joyous holiday season, a time of giving, of caring, a time of looking beyond ourselves to serve more noble causes. A time to dream and to redeem the dreams of others.
Some approach 2010 as a year of promise—that the worst is behind us and business conditions will start getting better—others as another 12 months of misfortune. Some continue to straggle the fence, approaching the coming year as one of uncertainty.
Being purely pragmatic and an incurable optimistic, I prefer the first option— promise. I find misfortune and uncertainty unacceptable as alternatives to success and confidence.
To approach 2010 with misgivings, anticipating misfortune is a futile exercise. Such a state of mind can only visit undue stress upon the misfortune hunter, preoccupy him with thoughts of disaster, cause him to be irritable and rob him of his leadership. It can make him indolent and uncaring, and it can erode his professionalism. It also makes him a fatalist—what will be, will be—and he does nothing to change what he knows will happen, must happen.
Then there are those afflicted by uncertainty. They are just as harmful to themselves, co-workers, customers as those suffering from misfortune. The uncertain don’t know which way to turn, what to believe. They are afraid to pull in their horns or go out on a limb. They want to be safe, so they do nothing.
Well, they brood, and they wait to see what they can say to feel better after events unfurl. The uncertain straddle the fence and, on average, they’re never wrong—nor are they ever right.
Those who jump into the new year with enthusiasm and view it as one of promise are far better off than their peers who are anticipating misfortune or clutching to uncertainty. Expecting good things to happen—even if it’s in the second half 2010—has a positive affect on business and those who work for its success. The time the others devote to worrying, retrenching and stagnating, the promise platoon uses to promote, market, advertise and put itself in a position to be profitable when the economy rights itself.
These aren’t necessarily pie-in-the-sky people. They tend to be realistic and they don’t believe everything they read and see. They make it their business to know their customers, their trading area and their products. They do well because they are determined to succeed.
In a sense, that’s what it’s all about. Business leaders control the destiny of their business and beliefs of the executives filter down through the organization and engulf all employees. Tell your managers and workers that 2010 will be a year of misfortune or that you’re uncertain what’s in store and watch productivity fall, business diminish and profits drop. Tell them you are embarking on a year of promise and whatever the year will be, yours will be better.